Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Hinkle

Supreme Court of Wisconsin

November 12, 2019

State of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Matthew C. Hinkle, Defendant-Appellant-Petitioner.

          ORAL ARGUMENT: September 4, 2019

         REVIEW OF DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS Reported at 384 Wis.2d 612, 921 N.W.2d 219');">921 N.W.2d 219 PDC No:2018 WI.App. 67 - Published

          Circuit Court Fond du Lac County L.C. No. 2015CF418 Robert J. Wirtz Judge.

          For the defendant-appellant-petitioner, there were briefs filed by Christina Starner, Green Bay. There was an oral argument by Christina Starner.

          For the plaintiff-respondent, there was a brief filed by Aaron R. O'Neil, assistant attorney general, with whom on the brief was Joshua L. Kaul, attorney general. There was an oral argument by Aaron R. O'Neil.

          DISSENTED: DALLET, J. dissents, joined by A.W. BRADLEY, J. (opinion filed) NOT PARTICIPATING: HAGEDORN, J. did not participate.

          REBECCA GRASSL BRADLEY, J.

         ¶1 We review whether Fond du Lac County Circuit Court[1] properly exercised adult-court criminal jurisdiction over then-16-year-old Matthew C. Hinkle based on Milwaukee County Circuit Court's prior decision to waive Hinkle from juvenile court to adult court.[2] Our decision turns on the interpretation of Wis.Stat. § 938.183(1) and how its text prescribes the practice commonly referenced by those handling juvenile cases as "once waived, always waived."[3]

         ¶2 Hinkle contends Wis.Stat. § 938.183(1) confines the "once waived, always waived" rule to each individual county-meaning Hinkle could be waived into adult court only if another Fond du Lac County Circuit Court previously waived him. He argues Fond du Lac improperly relied on Milwaukee's waiver and, as a result, the Fond du Lac County Circuit Court lacked competency[4] to handle his case.

         ¶3 The State disagrees with Hinkle's restrictive view of Wis.Stat. § 938.183(1) . The State argues the statute's text does not impose a county-specific restriction; instead, the State construes the statute to give circuit courts across Wisconsin original adult-court jurisdiction over crimes committed by juveniles who have been previously waived into adult court when those prior proceedings are still pending or when the prior proceedings resulted in conviction. Both the circuit court and the court of appeals agreed with the State. We do as well.

         ¶4 We hold Wis.Stat. § 938.183(1) conferred exclusive original adult jurisdiction over Hinkle based on Milwaukee County Circuit Court's prior waiver. The text of the statute does not impose a county-specific limitation on the rule commonly referred to as "once waived, always waived." The Fond du Lac County Circuit Court properly relied on Milwaukee's waiver to move Hinkle from Fond du Lac's juvenile jurisdiction to Fond du Lac's adult jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Fond du Lac County Circuit Court possessed competency to hear Hinkle's case under the criminal code applicable to adults. We affirm the decision of the court of appeals.

         I. BACKGROUND

         ¶5 In July 2015, then-16-year-old Hinkle approached a stopped car in Milwaukee County, reached into the driver's window, shut off the car, took the keys, and ordered the driver out of the car. Hinkle then took the car and drove it to Fond du Lac. Fond du Lac Police Officer Ben Hardgrove saw the car parked at a gas station and pulled up behind it to block its egress. Hardgrove saw four people in the car, including Hinkle, who was in the driver's seat. Hardgrove ordered the occupants to "show their hands." Hinkle ignored the officer's command and started ramming the car he was driving into Hardgrove's squad car and a second car parked near him in an attempt to escape. At the same time, the other passengers exited the car. Hinkle eventually cleared enough space to get past Hardgrove's squad car and fled the gas station at a high rate of speed.

         ¶6 Fond du Lac police pursued Hinkle, who led them on a high-speed chase through residential areas. Police reported Hinkle driving between 60-100 mph on his way out of town and reaching 120 mph when he drove back into town. Hinkle's car came to a stop only after he crashed into an SUV. Instead of stopping as the police ordered him to do, Hinkle then fled on foot. The police chased Hinkle down with the help of a canine officer and arrested him.

         ¶7 The State pursued charges against Hinkle in the circuit courts of both Milwaukee County and Fond du Lac County. Because Hinkle was 16 years old, the State filed delinquency petitions. See Wis.Stat. § 938.12(1) ("IN GENERAL. The court [acting under ch. 938] has exclusive jurisdiction, except as provided in ss. 938.17, 938.18, and 938.183, over any juvenile 10 years of age or older who is alleged to be delinquent.") . The delinquency petition filed in Milwaukee contained two counts.[5] The delinquency petition filed in Fond du Lac contained 14 counts.[6] In addition, the State filed a criminal complaint in Fond du Lac charging Hinkle as an adult with four counts: one count of attempting to flee and three counts of hit and run. See Wis.Stat. §§ 346.04(3), 343.31(3) (d)1, 346.67(1), 346.74(5) (a), and 939.50(3) (i) . Hinkle was charged as an adult on these four traffic counts pursuant to Wis.Stat. § 938.17, which gives "courts of criminal and civil jurisdiction" "exclusive jurisdiction in proceedings against juveniles 16 years of age or older" for these violations.

         ¶8 The State also filed petitions under Wis.Stat. § 938.18 in both Milwaukee and Fond du Lac, requesting that Hinkle be waived from juvenile court to adult court.[7] The Milwaukee County Circuit Court held a waiver hearing and granted the State's waiver petition.[8] The State then filed a criminal complaint in Milwaukee County Circuit Court charging Hinkle as an adult with: (1) robbery with use of force and (2) take and operate a vehicle without owner's consent. See Wis.Stat. §§ 943.32(1)(a) and 943.23(2).

         ¶9 While the Milwaukee case was pending, the Fond du Lac County Circuit Court considered the State's waiver petition. Hinkle wanted to contest the waiver in Fond du Lac, and be adjudicated as a juvenile. However, everyone, including Hinkle's lawyer, agreed that the rule regularly referred to as "once waived, always waived" applied. The circuit court and the parties interpreted Wis.Stat. § 938.183(1) to require the Fond du Lac County Circuit Court to waive Hinkle because the Milwaukee County Circuit Court had previously done so. The Fond du Lac County Circuit Court ruled that, pursuant to § 938.183(1), Hinkle must be prosecuted as an adult.

         ¶10 The State filed an amended Information in Fond du Lac County Circuit Court, now charging Hinkle as an adult for all 18 counts-the four traffic counts from the original criminal complaint, plus the 14 counts from the delinquency petition. Hinkle accepted the plea bargain offered by the State, pled no contest to six counts, and entered an Alford plea on one count;[9]the remaining 11 counts were dismissed and read-in.[10] The circuit court imposed a total sentence of six years of initial confinement and three years of extended supervision to be followed by two years of probation.[11]

         ¶11 Hinkle then filed a postconviction motion in Fond du Lac County Circuit Court seeking to vacate his convictions, withdraw his pleas, and transfer the 14 counts back to juvenile court jurisdiction. Hinkle argued that Wis.Stat. § 938.183(1) did not give Fond du Lac Circuit Court competency to proceed over the 14 juvenile counts because the "once waived, always waived" rule should be county-specific. In other words, Hinkle argued that for Fond du Lac County Circuit Court to waive Hinkle without a waiver hearing, the statute required a prior waiver by a Fond du Lac County Circuit Court. Hinkle contended the statutory language limits a circuit court's reliance on previous juvenile court waivers to the specific county in which the prior waiver occurred. Accordingly, Hinkle asserted Fond du Lac County improperly relied on Milwaukee County's waiver, never acquired adult-court jurisdiction over Hinkle, and, as a result, lacked competency to preside over Hinkle's case in adult court.

         ¶I2 The Fond du Lac County Circuit Court rejected Hinkle's interpretation and denied the motion, reasoning:

I think the essence of the argument here is that Mr. Hinkle couldn't be transferred to adult court in Fond du Lac based on the waiver -- his waiver from juvenile court in Milwaukee to adult court in Milwaukee and, then, the subsequent violation in Fond du Lac County, which was then waived into adult court. And the statute . . . 938.183 [says] "... courts of criminal jurisdiction have exclusive jurisdiction over all of the following:
A juvenile who is alleged to have violated any state criminal law if the juvenile has been convicted of a previous violation following waiver of jurisdiction under" some statute sections, basically juvenile court sections, "by the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under this chapter," 938, the juvenile justice code. And it says "by the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction" under the chapter. It doesn't indicate, specifically, that it has to be in the same county. And there are a multitude of courts which vary; based on time, and year, and place; who are assigned. You know, judges get an assignment to a particular duty, whether it's for a year or for a short period of time. Right now I'm assigned to intake, which includes juvenile matters. And, so, as I read the statute, if a person has been waived -- convicted of a violation following waiver of jurisdiction by a court -- by the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under the chapter, that's sufficient. It doesn't have to be in the particular same county, because that isn't what the statute says. The court assigned to exercise juvenile court jurisdiction can be, by lack of limitation, any particular court there is assigned to juvenile court jurisdiction.
Mr. Hinkle was waived into adult court and convicted in adult court and, given that waiver and that transfer into adult court in Milwaukee ... it was acceptable . . . for the court here with criminal court jurisdiction to have jurisdiction over him.

         ¶I3 The court of appeals affirmed the circuit court's order denying Hinkle's postconviction motion and agreed with the circuit court's interpretation of Wis.Stat. § 938.183(1) . The court of appeals interpreted § 938.183(1) (b) to give a circuit court hearing criminal cases "exclusive original jurisdiction over" a juvenile when three conditions apply:

• (1) the juvenile is presently alleged to have committed a criminal violation;
• (2) a juvenile court has waived its jurisdiction over the juvenile for a previous violation; and
• (3) either that previous violation resulted in a conviction or the criminal proceedings remain pending.

State v. Hinkle, 2018 WI.App. 67, ¶21, 384 Wis.2d 612, 921 N.W.2d 219');">921 N.W.2d 219. Hinkle filed a petition for review of the court of appeals decision, which this court granted.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶14 This case involves the interpretation and application of Wis.Stat. § 938.183(1), "which is a question of law we review independently, although we benefit from the decisions by the court of appeals and circuit court." See State v. Talley, 2017 WI 21, ¶24, 373 Wis.2d 610, 891 N.W.2d 390. "We independently review questions of subject matter jurisdiction and competency." City of Eau Claire v. Booth, 2016 WI 65, ¶6, 370 Wis.2d 595, 882 N.W.2d 738');">882 N.W.2d 738.

         III. ANALYSIS

         ¶15 The dispute centers on the text of Wis.Stat. § ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.